Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)


Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) :

In this blog, we’ll briefly discuss what leprosy is and its


What is leprosy?

Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by (rod-shaped) bacteria
Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Transmission occurs
through respiratory droplets, prolonged close contact with affected
individuals, sneezing, and coughing.


• It does not spread through hugging and shaking.


• It is also not spread through sexual contact or passed on
from the mother to her unborn child.


Sphere of action :


Bacteria mainly attack the skin & peripheral nerve but
can also damage the eyes, upper respiratory tract mucosa.


If left untreated, the disease can be debilitating resulting
in muscle weakness permanent nerve damage in arms, and legs, and loss of
sensation in the body.


• Untreated leprosy results in symptoms like crippling of
hands & feet.


• It occurs at all ages ranging from in fantasy to older age


• It is common in parts of tropical & subtropical Asia, Africa,
Central & South America, and in parts of the USA


There are two common forms of leprosy :


1. Tuberculoid


2. Lepromat


Both forms produce lesions on the skin, but the lepromatous
form is more severe &highly contagious and causes the additional formation
of large bumps and lumps on the body.


The incubation period is – 6 months to 20 years symptoms :


Symptoms vary depending on an individual’s immune response
to the bacteria. Skin symptoms you might see typically lesions, but they may
vary in appearance.


The most common skin lesion includes well-demarcated lesions
with central hypopigmentation that may become erythematous & raised due to
skin inflammation.


• Development of pale or pinkish patches on the skin


• Ulcers on the soles of feet


• Stuffy nose & nosebleed


• Swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes


• Dry skin


• In some cases nodules may also from :


• Other skin lesions have a ” punched out
“appearance or” Target-like ” appearance.


• Lesion distributed randomly across the body.


If there is damage to a peripheral nerve, symptoms include :


• Hyposthesia & paralysis (typically of hands&feet)


• If the nerve of eyelid muscles or cornea is affected
analysis of the eyelid may occur ( Lagophthalmos)


• Corneal abrasion


• Ulceration or even leads to blindness.


• If nasal mucus is affected then it leads to saddle nose
deformity & collapsed nasal bridge may occur


• Numbness


• Enlarge nerve around the affected part that is knee and


• Feet are vulnerable to burn and injuries leave the
extremities, Pain is not registered at this stage then there is loss of
fingers, toes, hands, and feet.

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